Speed Cameras

Australian State Shortened Yellow Lights for Ticket Bonanza

Moving the goalposts, folks

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A court challenge forced officials in Victoria, Australia to admit last week that red light cameras at eight intersections have been extremely productive because the yellow warning times were illegally short. The yellows fell short anywhere between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds with the incorrect timing in place, in one instance, for seven-and-a-half years.

At the intersection of Stud Road and High Street in Wantirna, for example, the yellow time was set at 3.0 seconds on December 28, 2006. Under VicRoads guidelines, it should have been 4.5 seconds, but the timing was not corrected until August 23. VicRoads only bothered to check the timing after a local man, Gordon Bishop, fought a ticket at Terminal Drive and Centre Road, near Melbourne Airport. The 3.0 second timing at that intersection fell short by 0.5 seconds of the requirement in a 50 km/h (31 MPH) zone. That half-second was enough to make this camera the state's second-biggest moneymaker. The court agreed with Bishop that the timing was illegal, though the state has appealed to avoid the prospect of paying $2.5 million in refunds.